Why Jacob Zuma Must Return to Prison – South African Court

Why Jacob Zuma Must Return to Prison – South African Court

Wednesday, December 15, 2021 2:44 pm

Jacob Zuma in court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, in October. A judge ruled on Wednesday that the former president’s health had not “deteriorated permanently or reached an irreversible state.”Credit…Pool photo by Jerome Delay

Jacob Zuma, the former rambunctious President of South Africa is in global news again. He was released from prison on medical parole in September, but now a court ruled today, Wednesday 15 December, that he must return to serve the rest of a 15-month sentence linked to his appearance before a corruption investigation.

Zuma was sent into the slammer on contempt charges in June this year. That was after defying an order to, as New York Times put it, “appear before a corruption inquiry examining financial scandals that tainted his tenure as the country’s leader from 2009 to 2018.” However, Zuma, 79, applied for medical parole within a month of his incarceration and was granted it “after being in prison for just two months.”

Upon being taken into custody in July to begin his sentence, Mr. Zuma was held in the medical wing of a prison near his home in Nkandla, in the rural north of KwaZulu-Natal Province. Within a month, a doctor, who examined him, as New York Times wrote,  described Mr. Zuma’s condition as “worrisome,” pointing to the “unpredictability of his plausible life-threatening cardiac and neurological events.” Another found that his glucose, blood pressure and kidney function had gone “completely out of kilter” after just four weeks.

“The medical parole board rejected his application on the basis that his illness was not terminal and could be managed by prison health workers. But Mr. Zuma was released after the national commissioner of correctional services, Arthur Fraser — a political ally of Mr. Zuma’s — overturned the board’s decision.

Nongovernmental groups and the country’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, asked the High Court in Pretoria, the executive capital, to review the move. And on Wednesday, Judge Keoagile Matojane set aside the commissioner’s decision, calling it “irrational” and agreeing with the medical parole board that Mr. Zuma’s health had not “deteriorated permanently or reached an irreversible state.”

The judge also dismissed the commissioner’s assertion that Mr. Zuma’s continued incarceration would lead to a repeat of the violence and looting that occurred in South Africa in July soon after Mr. Zuma’s arrest. The unrest, which began as a demonstration calling for his release, quickly gained momentum in protest over broader economic dissatisfaction.”

It is not clear when Mr. Zuma will return to prison. The correctional services department said that it was “studying the judgment.”



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  • Andy says:

    Jail the bastard

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